Monday, October 24, 2011


"If it was with my dying breath,
I would caution anyone
against attempting the feat..."
Annie Edson Taylor

"O shut the door! and when thou hast done so, Come weep with me..."
Wm Shakespeare [maybe] Romeo & Juliet

So. Just a note, a bit of pencil sharpening, so to speak, before I get down to writing this novel I've been working on. I learned about Annie Edson Taylor when I was illustrating Julie Cummins' Women Daredevils
and, if you read it or the Wikipedia entry on this lady, I'm betting you'll be as struck as I was by the pathos of this intelligent, educated widow's story. Years of plucky enterprising to avoid poverty's ever-present undertow led up to her celebrating her 63rd birthday by allowing herself to be packed into a specially made barrel, having the lid screwed on then rolled onto the waters leading to Niagara Falls. 110 years ago today. 24 Oct. 1901. A quaint picturesque time it looks to be in the old photographs. Long skirts. Big hats. Streets full of clip-clop. Social safety nets? Welcome to the poorhouse. Cuppa gruel?
Why'd she do it? Shoot, if it killed her, she wouldn't have to be broke and scared anymore. If she survived (No one ever had.), she'd make a bundle on the lecture circuit. Nothing on TV back then, after all. Oh well. I've got to get to work on my own [exceedingly amusing] get-rich-slow scheme. Suffice it to say Annie got cheated & poverty dragged her down just the same.
May good fortune shine, hard times not get too hard.

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